As September leaves us and we head into October, temperatures are slowly starting to drop across the country. The beginning of autumn is a truly beautiful time of year, so enjoy the spectacle of the leaves changing colour and start thinking about preparing your garden for the coming months.

Get planting

October is the start of the planting season. Bulbs and plants will benefit from having the next few months ahead to get rooted in, but be wary of planting evergreens in overly exposed patches as they’re prone to drying out in winter winds.

One of the easiest ways to get ready to welcome in spring again is with spring-flowering bulbs. Simply plant them in flower beds or pots now for a beautiful riot of spring colour. Looking for a more naturalised look? How about planting them into your lawn? Simply scatter the bulbs on your lawn for a random, natural pattern, then dig holes with a bulb planter or trowel where they’ve fallen approx. three times the depth of your bulbs. Pop the bulbs in and cover back over with the soil and turf you dug up. Next spring you’ll have beautiful colour popping up all over. Now that’s something to look forward to!

autumn bulbs

Clear the leaves

As tempting as it may be to leave fallen leaves, the best thing you can do for your lawn is to give them a good rake. Clearing them will help protect your lawn from water logging and unnecessary damage. Don’t feel you need to rake up every last one though, nature will be your best friend if you leave a few behind for bugs and insects to make a comfy home in.

The fallen leaves you collect also make for fantastic mulch. This could be the perfect time to start a compost heap if you haven’t already. Once your lawn is clear and dry, October will probably see the final mow of the year before winter really sets in.

Make sure you clear any leaves from patios, pathways and decking now as well, as they can get quite slippy when left behind.

Get creative

If you’ve got kids in the family or if you’re the creative type, autumn is a great time to get out in the garden. While collecting those fallen leaves, put a few aside for creative activities indoors or out. They can be used to create creatures and characters, forest friend headbands, crown leaf prints or wax crayon rubbings. Just pick up some art and craft supplies and you can turn your leaf pile into a real masterpiece.

Plant evergreen hedges

Now’s the perfect time to plant evergreen and semi-evergreen hedges while the soil is still warm. Deciduous hedges are best left to mid – late autumn when the leaves have started to fall though. If the soil is waterlogged or frozen, you’ll want to hold off on getting them in the ground. If you’ve bought them and can’t get them in the ground yet, just pop them in your shed with their roots wrapped in plastic with some compost, paper or straw to stop them drying out.

Ponds

If you’ve got a pond in your garden, now’s a great time to cover it with netting to prevent leaves dropping in, making it much easier for you to keep clean. As the weather starts to chill, add a polystyrene float or ball to make sure the surface doesn’t completely ice over in freezing temperatures. Cut back and tidy any aquatic plants to help reduce any rotting over winter, which’ll increase the nitrogen levels in the water.

October checklist:

Fruit and veg

  • Plant early broad beans and onions
  • Plant bare-rooted fruit shrubs
  • Prune summer-fruiting raspberries

 

Ornamental

  • Lift dahlia tubers
  • Divide herbaceous perennials
  • Lightly prune large roses
  • Plant spring bulbs
  • Raise containers off the ground
  • Clear summer bedding
  • Plant autumn bedding

Lawn

  • Clear fallen leaves
  • Last chance to sow seed
  • Lay turf

Indoor

  • Plant Christmas-flowering bulbs
  • Bring plants back indoors

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